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How to use a rubric in writing | Best answer 2022

Nov 04, 2022

How to use writing rubric

What is a rubric?

Rubric-O-Matic 2016 - eMarking AssistanteMarking Assistant

A rubric is a type of a score guide that assesses and gives specific components of expectations for an assignment (Ragupathi, 2020). They are used for a variety of assignments: research papers, group projects, portfolios and presentations. A rubric will not be meaningful to students or colleagues until the anchors, benchmarks, and exemplars are available.

What is a rubric used for in writing?

While grading criteria can come in many forms—a checklist of requirements, a description of grade-level expectations, articulated standards, or a contract between instructor and students, to name but a few options—they often take the form of a rubric, a structured scoring guide. 

Because of their flexibility, rubrics can provide several benefits for students and instructors:

  • They make the grading criteria explicit to students by providing specific dimensions (e.g. thesis, organization, use of evidence. etc.), the performance-level descriptions for those dimensions, and the relative weight of those dimensions within the overall assignment.

  • They can serve as guidelines and targets for students as they develop their writing, especially when the rubrics are distributed with the assignment.

  • They can be used by faculty to coach and reinforce writing criteria in the class.

  • They are useful for norming assessment and ensuring reliability and consistency among multiple graders, such as teaching assistants

  • They can help instructors to isolate specific features of student writing for praise or for instruction.

  • They are very adaptable in form–from basic to complex—and can be used to assess minor and major assignments.

  • They can be a data source for instructors to improve future teaching and learning.

What are different types of rubrics?

There are four types of rubrics. The following are the types of rubrics. Rubrics comes in many form. Using terms introduced by John bean (2011), together with advantages and disadvantages of rubric types, as detailed by Center for Advanced research on language acquisition (CARLA).

Holistic rubrics

Types of Rubrics – Rubrics: Advantages and Best Practices

These stresses on overall evaluation of work by use of single – score categories either in numeric or latter form. They are used in standardized assessments, such as Advanced placement exams.

Benefits of holistic rubrics

·         Saves time by minimizing numbers of decisions that graders do follow.

·         More reliable: they are multiple graders that works as an teaching assistants

·         They are good for summative assessments that require no additional information.

Potential of holistic rubrics

·         Where spaces are not provided for specific comments, they are less useful to give feedback to learners on how to improve their performance.

·         They are not commonly used for formative assessments, hence they cannot give an actionable feedback to the students.

Analytic rubrics

Types of Rubrics – Rubrics: Advantages and Best Practices

Analytic Rubrics stresses the on a different criteria or traits, such as content, organization, use of conventions and many more. Most of them are formatted as grids.

Advantages of analytic rubrics:

• They provide useful feedback to learners on specific areas of strength and weakness.

• Their dimensions can be weighted to reflect the relative importance of individual criteria on the assignment.

• When used repeatedly, they can show learners that they have made progress over time (Moskal, 2000).

Disadvantages of analytic rubrics:

• As Tedick (2002) notes, "Separate scores for different aspects of a student’s writing or speaking performance may be considered artificial in that it does not give the teacher (or student) a good assessment of the ‘whole’ of a performance."

• They ussually take more time to create and use This can be so challenging, Additionally, it takes much time in naming all the possible attributes that will signal success or failure on the assignment.

• It takes so much time to norm and achieve reliability due to that there are more dimensions to score.

• According to (McNamara, 1996), graders tend to find grammar-related categories more harshly than they do other categories. Analytic rubrics containing a category for “grammar” may provides a negatively skewed picture of a learners' proficiency.

Generic rubrics

Generic Rubric Teaching Resources | Teachers Pay Teachers

Theses can take holistic or analytic forms. In these, the grading criteria are generalized in such a way that the rubric can be used for multiple assignments or across multiple sections of courses. Here is a sample of a generic rubric.

Disadvantages of generic rubrics:

  • They are multi-purpose. They can be applied to a number of different tasks across a single mode of communication (such as persuasion, analysis, oral presentation).

  • They can be recycled repeatedly for assignments with fixed formats and genres (lab reports, technical memos).

  • Departments uses them for collecting data about student performance across courses.

Disadvantages of generic rubrics:

  • They are not directly aligned with the language in the assignment prompt writing.

  • They may reinforce a singular and reductive view of effective writing.


Task-Specific Rubrics

These closely align the grading criteria with the language and specifications in the assignment prompt. Here is a sample of a task-specific rubric.

Advantages of task-specific rubrics:

  • According to Walvoord (2014) notes, “credible and actionable for students because they involve faculty in their own disciplinary language, their own assignments, and their own criteria.”

  • They emphasize the specificity of discipline and genre-based writing.

  • They can be useful for both formative and summative feedback.

Disavantages of task-specific rubrics:

  • They take time to develop.

  • They cannot be recycled to other assignments in future.

How rubrics affects student perfomance

The formative feedback process, betweeen a student-teacher communication, starts with setting expectations. Brookhart notes “ rubric are one way to make learning expectations explicit for learners”. These expectations help students see what learning looks like so that they can then absorb feedback in alignment with those learning goals.

Jay McTighe specifies that rubrics helps do the following: 

  • Defines criteria for judging student performance based on targets

  • Helps in evaluation of student performance

  • They are used as teaching targets

  • They provide specific feedback to students and teachers

  • Help students focus on the important dimensions of a product or performance

  • Promotes criterion-based evaluation and standards-based grading

  • According to (McTighe, 2016), they support student self- and peer-assessment

How rubrics assess student performance levels

Rubrics advance the learning of historically marginalized students. Wolf and Stevens notes, “An often unrecognized benefit of rubrics is that they can make learning expectations or assumptions about the tasks themselves more explicit. They not only part of assessment but also a teaching and learning junction with the potential to increase student learning outcomes and uphold assessment with integrity."

Instructors can help in the following way:

  • keeping the students on task during independent writing time

  • Implementing a successful writing workshop with no chaos and confusion.

  • Transforming all your students into eager and excited writers with the skills needed to perform on standardized tests.

The course will help you simplify your writing instruction and dramatically increase the success of your students. Lastly, it will even help you find the time in your schedule to teach writing and have writing conferences every day.

How writing rubrics are used to assess student learning outcomes

A rubric can be set as an extended grid. Instructors can use a holistic rubric that describes the attributes of each grade or level. This type of rubric will help give an overall score, taking the entire piece into account. This will particularly be useful for essay questions on paper and pencil tests. Most student work will likely fit into more than one category for different criteria. The scorer must choose the grade that best fits the target perfomance. A holistic rubric will scores more quickly than an analytic. Additionally, a holistic rubric judges the overall understanding of content or quality of assingmnets.

Finally, if your instructors, taechers or descriptors include quantity, clarity, and details in the rubric requirements, make sure that each of these outcome expectations is included in each performance level descriptor. You can try out the rubric. Then, apply the rubric to an assignment. Additionally, share with colleagues. Faculty members often find it useful to establish the minimum score a student needs to be deemed passable. For example, faculty members may come up with that a 1 or 2 or 3 on a 4 - point scale (4=exemplary, 3=proficient, 2=marginal, 1=unacceptable), does not meet the minimum quality expectations. Lastly, they may set their criteria for success as 90% of the students must score a certain percentage or higher. If assessment study results falls short, action will need to be taken.


In concluion, rubric makes it easier for students an instructors to acheive their expectations easily. They can serve as guidelines and targets for students as they develop their writing, especially when the rubrics are distributed with the assignment. I recommend to use it in all your assignments.

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Bean, J. C., & Melzer, D. (2021). Engaging ideas: The professor's guide to integrating writing, critical thinking, and active learning in the classroom. John Wiley & Sons.

Kleinbort, T. A., Duffy, L. N., Powell, G. M., Fogle, E. L., Gremillion, P., Kakraba, K., ... & Stephens, L. (2020). Writing in the discipline: A writing mentorship program to enhance student writing skills in the leisure field. SCHOLE: A Journal of Leisure Studies and Recreation Education35(1), 46-53.

Muhammad, Azliza, Othman Lebar, and Siti Eshah Mokshein. "Rubrics as Assessment, Evaluation, and Scoring Tools." International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences 8.10 (2018): 1417-1431.

Ragupathi, Kiruthika, and Adrian Lee. "Beyond fairness and consistency in grading: The role of rubrics in higher education." Diversity and inclusion in global higher education. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore, 2020. 73-95.

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